skip to main content
article photo

Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands Announces Changes to Company Restaurants Senior Leadership Team

Reporters are welcome to use Inspire Stories material. If you have any questions, please contact us at
By Jessica Shock

Today, the Inspire Company Restaurants organization announced internal promotions to further strengthen its company-operated restaurant structure. 

One of the key characteristics that makes Inspire Brands a restaurant company unlike any other is that it’s both a leading franchisor and a large owner-operator of company restaurants. With more than 2,200 company restaurants across its family of brands, Inspire is one of the largest owner-operators of company restaurants in the United States. This level of restaurant ownership helps Inspire think and act like a restaurant owner, ultimately making it a more effective franchisor. 

Following last week’s brand leadership announcements, Inspire Brands announced three senior leadership promotions in the Inspire Company Restaurants organization, reporting to John Kelly, Chief Company Restaurant Officer:

  • Stephanie Sentell has been named Senior Vice President, Arby’s Company Operations. In her role, Sentell will oversee the operations of more than 1,100 company-owned Arby’s restaurants across the United States. In her previous role, Sentell guided Inspire’s drive toward incredible restaurant innovations and has led the journey to transform Inspire’s approach to efficient team member and guest experiences. Stephanie joined Arby’s in 2012, leading field marketing, and eventually Brand Strategy & Culinary Innovation and Restaurant Excellence.
Stephanie Sentell, Senior Vice President, Arby’s Company Operations
  • Phil Albanese has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Buffalo Wild Wings Company Operations. In his role, Albanese will oversee the operations of more than 700 company-owned Sports Bars across the United States. Albanese has been with BWW for 24 years and has worked in every Sports Bar operations role. In fact, his first management role at BWW was at the original sports bar in Columbus, OH. Most recently, Albanese was the Division Vice President for the South Division, overseeing five Regional Vice Presidents and over 250 sports bars. Albanese’s passion for his teams and their development, along with his unwavering commitment to the BWW brand, will have a tremendous positive impact on its company sports bars.
Phil Albanese, Senior Vice President, Buffalo Wild Wings Company Operations
  • Vans Nelson has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Operations Innovation. In his role, Nelson will drive restaurant and format innovation, margin improvement, and operations, technology, and process enhancements initiatives for Inspire’s Company Restaurants. Nelson has been with Arby’s and Inspire for over 13 years, holding numerous roles in Field Operations and Support Center Leadership. While having a significant impact across Inspire, Nelson was particularly instrumental in several major projects, including the Alliance Kitchen, Inspire Brands Innovation Center, Operations Complexity Model Development, Brand Labor Model Development, and Non-Trad Operating Models. Nelson is known for his leadership collaboration and investments in helping others succeed.
Vans Nelson, Senior Vice President, Operations Innovation

“Stephanie, Phil, and Vans bring nearly 50 years of combined experience and a wealth of operational expertise to the Company Restaurants organization’s senior leadership team,” said John Kelly, Chief Company Restaurant Officer. “I’m confident that under their guidance, we will accomplish our objective to become the best operating restaurant company in the industry.”

Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and SONIC Drive-In locations worldwide. The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit